Wednesday, June 10, 2020

45. You Are Never Alone

You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God's Presence and Power. Max Lucado. September 2020. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Devotional. Christian Living]

First sentence: "It's just me, and I ain't much." We’d been talking for well into an hour before she said the words. We’d worked our way through two cups of machinebrewed, hospital-waiting-room coffee. Hers with sweetener, mine with powdered creamer. Small of stature she was. No makeup, hair matted. Her T-shirt was loose fitting and crumpled. I wondered if she’d slept in it.

Max Lucado's newest book is drawn from the gospel of John. Each chapter in one way or another connects to a chapter of John. I emphasize in one way or another because the focus of each chapter centers more on stories and experiences--from his own life, from his conversations with others, his observations and conclusions--than on the Word of God itself. While other books quote Scripture--moderately to even liberally--Lucado's quoting of Scripture is sparse to almost non existent. He talks about the contents of the gospel of John--it's clearly evident that he's familiar with John and that he has given it much thought--but it's more like a summary aside that supports his narrative. I definitely think he leans towards inspirational application.

I read Lucado sparingly. I prefer to read something that requires more chewing, more thought, more attention. But I love, love, love, love, love, crazy love the gospel of John. I am always up to read a book that relates/connects to John. And so I was open to reading and reviewing this.

I definitely enjoyed it. Lucado has a way with words. Like he knows he's going to be quoted a billion times and then some. Which he is. Often. He knows his audience and what they expect. I definitely found gems that were worthy of quoting.

Life happens when we believe. We find strength beyond our strength. We accomplish tasks beyond our capacity. We see solutions beyond our wisdom. Belief is not some respectful salute to a divine being. Belief happens when we place our confidence in God. It is a decision to lean entirely upon the strength of a living and loving Savior.

Each and every one of Jesus’ miracles was an act of kindness. Someone benefited. All these events stand together as one voice, calling on you to lift your eyes and open your heart to the possibility—indeed, the reality—that the greatest force in the universe is One who means you well and brings you hope.

You’re stronger than you think because God is nearer than you know.

Read the Bible from the table of contents in the front to the maps in the back, and you will not find any promise of a pain-free life on this side of death. But you will find this assurance: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5 niv).

Set your compass on the polestar of God’s promise, and place one weary foot in front of the other. Jesus has spoken. Let his word do what it was intended to do: lead you home.

It is not ours to say what God will do. Our job is to believe he will do something. It simply falls to us to stand up, take up, and walk.

When we wonder if God is coming, he answers with his name: “I AM!” When we wonder if he is able, he declares, “I AM.” When we see nothing but darkness, feel nothing but doubt, and wonder if God is near or aware, the welcome answer from Jesus is this: “I AM!” Pause for a moment and let him tell you his name. Your greatest need is his presence. Yes, you want this storm to pass. Yes, you want the winds to still. But yes, yes, yes, you want to know, need to know, and must know that the great I AM is near.

When I was a fifth grader, the optometrist gave me a vision test. If God tested your spiritual vision, would you pass it? Can you see the meaning of life? Have you caught a vision for eternity? Most of all, can you see God’s great love for you? The hand you sense on your face is his. The voice you hear is his. It is not his will that we grope blindly through life. He wants us to know why we are on earth and where we are going. Our vision matters to Jesus. He will do whatever it takes to help us see how to see. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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